The antisocial movie

There’s no “why” there. That’s the problem with The Social Network. It neither explains nor even ascribes motives to Mark Zuckerberg—no vision, no strategy, no goals.

The movie quickly admits that money doesn’t matter to Zuckerberg. So why did he build Facebook? The Social Network offers no answer, except perhaps that an outsider wanted in, but that doesn’t begin to explain what he has accomplished and why; that’s nothing but simplistic prime-time plotting. The script says nothing about him wanting to connect the world or bring communities elegant organization. It doesn’t care. For this is a movie about tactics, not strategy, about people doing hard things to each other. Elsewhere, that’s just called business.

The movie violates privacy, smears reputations, makes shit up—just what the internet is accused of doing, right? Oh, it’s entertaining, in a dark way, as much as watching the pillorying of witches used to be, I suppose. For The Social Network, geeks and entrepreneurs are as mysterious and frightening as witches. Its writer, Aaron Sorkin, admits as much in New York Magazine. “He says unapologetically that he knows almost nothing about the 2010 iteration of Facebook, adding that his interest in computer-aided communication goes only as far as emailing his friends.” Sorkin himself says, “I don’t want my fidelity to be to the truth; I want it to be to storytelling.” Making shit up.

New York’s Mark Harris knows, in an aside at least, what this movie is really about. “The Social Network can be seen as a well-aimed spitball thrown at new media by old media.” Except it’s not really old media that’s spitting but neonew media. Sorkin is a member of the Young Curmudgeons’ Guild, joining Gladwell, Carr, Anderson, Rowan, Morozov, and Lanier. Old media resists change. These guys want to deny the internet credit for it.

The Social Network understands obnoxious old-money (the cartoon-colored, Zuckerberg-suing Winklevoss twins), obnoxious new-money (Sean Parker, though David Kirkpatrick says in Vanity Fair that he is “both more complex and more interesting”), and the pretentious intellectual (a fantasy of Harvard’s then-President, Larry Summers). And it thinks it understands victims (Facebook cofounder and former Zuckerberg friend Eduardo Saverin). I met Saverin once, in a panel put on by an ad network, which Saverin patronized on Facebook’s behalf and which served just the kinds of tacky ads Zuckerberg didn’t want for his company because he knew the value of cool and he had a much bigger vision than Saverin had. That’s likely why Saverin had to go; whether The Social Network knows it or not, it makes that clear. It’s just business. And as for the Winklevii, they didn’t invent crap. Ideas, especially obvious ones, are worthless; every entrepreneur and geek knows that execution is everything. Zuckerberg’s fellow Harvard drop-out Bill Gates didn’t invent crap, either, but he did execute. That’s business.

The Social Network doesn’t understand entrepreneurs and geeks, or at least not the one here. So it turns him into an other. It makes him weird. It portrays Zuckerberg as—let’s be blunt—Aspergery: blinkless, humorless, heartless, incapable of being *cough* social or of having *cough* friends. I’ve met Zuckerberg four or five times, most lately interviewing him for Public Parts. I don’t know him. Maybe nobody does. But I can testify at least that he has charm. He does smile. He tells jokes. And he has a vision.

Zuckerberg understands the structure and motives of friendship even though The Social Network calls him friendless. In a flash during the deposition scenes that make up its narrative spine (perhaps because only lawyering could make coding look exciting), the movie gives us an anecdote—based on a true story, as it turns out—about the Harvard art class Zuckerberg didn’t attend in his sophomore year as he was inventing Facebook. Here is Zuckerberg telling the story in 2007: He posted to a web page the images of the art he should have studied, sent an email to his classmates offering a “study guide,” and watched as they distilled the essence of each piece. The punchline: Not only did Zuckerberg ace the final but the prof said the class as a whole did better than usual. I saw that as a perfect tale of social collaboration, a lesson in wikithink. The Social Network called it cheating. And right there lies the movie’s disconnect—not between Zuckerberg and friendship but between the movie and the new world it can’t comprehend but pretends to portray.

The Social Network is the anti-social movie. It distrusts and makes no effort to understand the phenomenon right in front of its nose. It disapproves—as media people, old and neonew, do—of rabblerous (or drunk or drugged-up or oversexed) masses doing what they do. Ah, but its fans will say, it’s really just a drama about a man. But that’s where it fails most. It can’t begin to explain this man because it doesn’t grok what he made—what he’s still making (“We don’t even know what it is yet,” Zuckerberg says in the movie, “It’s never finished”).

The Social Network is the anti-geek movie. It is the story that those who resist the change society is undergoing want to see. It says the internet is not a revolution but only the creation of a few odd, machine-men, the boys we didn’t like in college. The Social Network is the revenge on the revenge of the nerds.

I know my risk here. I’m putting myself again in the position of defending the internet, just as David Kirkpatrick is making himself Facebook’s apologist. Maybe we’re both hypnotized by the Zuckerberg charisma Sorkin cannot see. Maybe we’ve been hanging out with business people so long we cannot see the Greek tragedy in it. Maybe. Though if all you want is a tale of hard-nosed business leading to human drama among geeks, you could film the story of Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, or—coming soon to a theater near you—Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

In Zuckerberg and Facebook—and the internet—I see a far bigger and better story than the one Sorkin delivers. As research for Public Parts, I happen to be reading the wonderful book, The Gutenberg Revolution, by John Man, which digs through scant records to try to understand what drove the man who used technology to disrupt an old world and enable people to create a new one. Gutenberg was a technologist, secretive and controlling. He was a businessman (one of the early capitalists who created one of the early industries, really). He drove tough bargains. He was competitive. He was accused by the Dutch of stealing someone else‘s idea. Oh, and he apparently broke up badly with at least one woman, Man says. In the hand of a Sorkin scribe of the day, I imagine Gutenberg would only be a weirdo: We don’t trust what he’s doing to our world, we don’t understand it, so we don’t like him.

You’re going to see The Social Network. You should. It’s well-crafted. But as you watch, I urge you to look at what it says not just about Mark Zuckerberg but about us, us geeks. I look forward to the discussion.

: LATER: Aaron Sorkin’s worldview, 2007: “Everybody’s voice oughtn’t be equal.”

: AND: I’m amazed by the meme I see in comments here but especially in those at HuffingtonPost: It’s not a documentary, so it’s ok to make shit up. An odd defense. Sorkin et al don’t put a caveat up at the start of the film. They make a movie about a man named Mark Zuckerberg starting a service called Facebook. They didn’t film it at Schmarvard. I don’t buy that.

  • Jose G.

    Thank you Jeff Jarvis for broadening this discussion about this movie. Instead of an anti-Zuckerberg film, which I think Sorkin tried to make, there a much larger discussion to be made. You’ve done so eloquently. It is just business or is breaking new ground in social going to require the breaking of a few eggs? Is it really evil or is it a transition in the way humanity communicates? I don’t see the Facebook idea or it’s model as evil. There are some very questionable practices. I think it comes down to that life is full of change. You either roll with the punches & keep on moving, or you fall behind & remain trapped in the past fighting yesteryear’s battles.

    • Jose,
      Yes, there are debatable practices but those come later in the chronology.
      I agree with your framing: is it just a business or something bigger? You know how I vote…

  • Nice Article. I probably won’t be on Mark’s side due to this review during the film. But probably after all the Zuckbashing over the last months he deserves fair judgement.

    But Jeff, you on the other hand, really have to get rid of the justified text. :)

    • I agree whole-heartedly on the justified text. Really Jeff, it’s time to upgrade your WordPress theme to TwentyTen. You’ll like it, really.

      • Another Voice

        Another vote for please get rid of justified text.

  • You make a good point about there being disdain for the geek throughout this film. But I think you are slightly unfair – Zuckerberg is portrayed as a rock star here, not a loser. He is perhaps an automaton in many ways. I choose to see this more as an anthropological look at the new alpha male. How do you reduce competition and attract a mate? By being better and smarter.

    To me, the movie doesn’t need to explain the geek to the world. We know who are and what we are. And for its observations about human nature, it is true. It is, above all, a work of art. And it excels on that level completely.

    • Sasha, I like your take on it: Zuckerberg as the new alpha male. Retrofitted for the new alpha woman, who increasingly requires a mate that collaborates rather than competes, one who understands the value of sharing information rather than hoarding it. In other words, a male who relates to the world in an historically female way.

      Zuckerberg, and his gift to the world, is the culmination of the cultural revolutions of the ’60’s. Mark is the baby of the sexual, civil & racial equality movements and Sorkin, a product of the old world, bristles against it. (Kudos to Jeff Jarvis for recognizing, not resisting, the change.)

      • Od

        yes, Mark Zuckerborg is related to the cultural revolutions of the 60’s, Lisa: he is the demonic, shadow offspring of that decadent, self-obsessed Icarus generation. His obsession with owning information – OTHERS’ information, offered up by choiceless drones for free in a dreamlike trance of social ‘involvement’. handed over into a relativistic cloud of narcissistic ‘sharing’ – has indicated, if anything, a grotesque tilt by young men to the rancid aspects of your purported ‘historically female’ approach. There is no compassion, warmth, insight, intuition or nurturing in Zuckerborg’s grotesque cultural dent (all traditionally welcome female traits) – he is instead manipulative, capricious, bitchy, passive-aggressive and shady.
        There is nothing new or alpha about Zuckerborg. He seems haunted with social-sexual psychosis – more a Norman Bates, than a Sam Loomis.
        I’ll carefully overlook the military’s involvement in Disgracebook as of this writing…

  • Wow Jarvis, this was great.
    I’m going to have to buy Public Parts when it comes out.

    I really enjoyed reading this.

  • Kind of sounds like you wanted a documentary about how Facebook was made and the impact it had on media. I haven’t seen it but I don’t think documentary is what they had in mind. I like Harry Knowles review, who has a perspective of a film-goer interested in entertainment and character development rather than the perspective of media landscapes.

    • No. I’ll be eager to hear what you think when you do see it. Yes, its goal is character development and that is precisely the movie’s failure. It doesn’t even try to understand the character, only to, as I said, make him an other.

      • Robert Hamer

        But couldn’t you say that about a lot of films? Raging Bull, Citizen Kane, Taxi Driver, and many other movies told stories about unfathomable men who were not understood or rationalized by their films. Looking for the “essence” of Zuckerberg is sort of missing the point of the film, and I don’t feel it does any disservice to the guy. Frankly, I would have been pissed if the film decided to idolize Zuckerberg or the geek culture.

        And I’m sorry, but this idea that a film Based on a True Story must be 100% accurate to the real events or else it’s evil is a tired and weak argument. A movie with absolute fidelity to the events it’s based on does not exist, and in actuality Aaron Sorkin cleverly frames his narrative through two subjective testimonies; something that Rashida Jones’ character observes near the end of the film. Whatever charges you throw of the film “making shit up” completely falls apart with that fact.

      • Jonathan

        I thought the success of the movie was in fact its character development, and more than that, its development of a relationship and the subsequent downfall of that relationship. To me the movie was not so much about Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg as it was about the relationship Mark had with Eduardo and others. I don’t think the movie cast him simply as an ‘other’. I think they very rightly make note of the possibility, and almost mainstream feeling, that Mark Zuckerberg is actually an ass hole, but also allow for him to be human, and not one-sided, but multi-layered. Zuckerberg, several times, gives Eduardo chances to try to see the way he views things when he repeats that he doesn’t want to start selling ad space. I think the fact that we see Eduardo laughingly ignore his wishes, make the wrong conclusions about people, and play witness in the trial of the Winklevii suggests that Sorkin doesn’t necessarily think Saverin was the victim he tried to play.

        The Winklevii are just a show trial, and you correctly point out that their grounds for suit are null because, as is pointed out by you and Ezra Klein, things aren’t stolen in the age of information, they are just arrived at at the same time and some more fully and intricately developed than others. I don’t think that’s the point the movies making though. It wasn’t about Mark Zuckerberg stealing people’s ideas and money to make a billion dollar website, or about Mark Zuckerberg’s various trials (though they served as the framing device), it was about Mark Zuckerberg and his relationships, specifically with Eduardo. The film’s events are just the social interactions he has, and they serve to color a character who both wants relationships and doesn’t want relationships. I admit the scene of Mark and Eduardo being serviced in the bathroom is almost an insult to geek culture and only backs your opinion that Sorkin hates and mocks the geeks of today, but I again think the point was more to make a joke and put the audience in a certain mood before Zuckerberg’s reunion with Erica, which makes that scene stronger for me.

        Movies, especially biopics, “make shit up” all the time, and if you go into a movie expecting it to be 100 or even 75% factual you’re very mislead. The point of a film is a tell a good story with good characters and The Social Network more than succeeds with that. Do you expect there to be some facts, yes, and you probably expect more than 50% of the film to be facts. I’d argue that that number holds up with The Social Network. I also think the opinion you get is partially based on your own biases. You seem very much in favor of Zuckerberg so it only makes sense that any insults to his name, such as suggesting he may be anti-social, inflame you, but I don’t think they’re a bad part of the movie. I think they add a strong color to it that is countered by his melancholy for Erica, his drive and determination to bring about a better and more interesting site, and the scenes with Rashida Jones’s character, especially the final scene. I think the film does a very good job of displaying a multi-layered Zuckerberg who both competes on his own terms, but doesn’t necessarily lock people out; a Zuckerberg who desperately wants attention, but at the same time desperately doesn’t enjoy it; a Zuckerberg who despite all the coloring and framing he’s received, remains human and finds connections (the fact that Rashida Jones’s character feels sympathy in some way for him exemplifies this).

        You write as though the film vilifies Zuckerberg and revels in his multiple lawsuits, enjoying the fact that he never completely reconnects with Erica who may have been the best thing he had going for him. In fact the film does the opposite, by showing Zuckerberg as a possible villain and then asking you to sympathize, which I did very much; it shows you a broken and lonely man forced to endure the bitter rivalries of economic competition, but doesn’t want you to think the suits were right or necessary actions. It in fact says that these are unnecessary and possibly wrong because they were not based on the film’s reality, nor did they really bring about much change, except to depress and make bitter the main character. All of this though is brought to completion by the final scene where Mark add’s Erica, and shows that Mark isn’t an omniscient ‘other’ trying to peek into and control the lives of the world, but he is in fact one of us, because we are all others. None of us is truly the same, not even the Wiklevoss twins, and I think that was the overall point of the movie. To create this character of Mark Zuckerberg that we all have formed in our heads, and dash it upon the rocks of society to say there is no such thing as an other, there is only connection.

  • Isn’t the whole point of making a movie to make shit up and be entertaining instead of complex so it can bring in as much money at the box office as possible?

    • If that’s the goal, then why use real people and real events as the basis of the movie?

      • Cuz it’s got great potential for a story.

  • What continues to impress me about Zuckerberg is his commitment to that original vision, to the point of continuing to do things against his short-term financial interest (turning down lucrative but poorly conceived ads; avoiding the IPO; keeping Facebook dead simple to use). And doing so even when the weight of more “experienced” business people around him counsel him to do otherwise.

    He’s had his share of stumbles when it pushes the envelope on privacy issues. But on the whole, he’s done a remarkable job of building the company and maturing into an impressive CEO who has positioned Facebook to become a financial and advertising powerhouse.

    As an aside, I’m still looking to see if the Twitter founders can deliver the same kind of execution and ability to scale that company to a point where it clearly becomes a sustainable enterprise. So far, Zuckerberg, I think, has left them in the dust in that regard.

  • An interesting perspective as ever Jeff, tho I really disagree this time. I saw the film last night and thought it was a fascinating, timely exposition on old v new business, the fusty Madison Avenue / old boys network versus maverick geeks and a work-in-progress model.

    Yet I don’t think it came off on the negative side for geeks. Zuck was intruguing rather than dammed, his mystique symbolising how little the world understands these new leaders, who nonetheless fascinate us.

    I agree there should be a film to be made of the kind you wish tho – a prequel?!

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  • His Shadow

    I will need to see the movie even more now, but my kneejerk reaction is, there doesn’t have to be a “why”. If we have learned anything from religion, the “Big Questions” it claims to answer turn out to be trite, circular and in many cases, already answered by something else. Zuckerberg made Facebook for the reasons the actor states in the commercials. The result ignites a rocket that begins careening through space and all he can do is hang on. If there doesn’t seem to be a “why” after the initial drive to create something that gave young Zuckerberg an “in” with the “in crowd”, it may very well be because there just isn’t anything else.

  • Richard

    RE: “They didn’t film it at Schmarvard.”

    In fact, they didn’t film it at Harvard. The university has a policy, enacted after “Love Story,” that restricts most movies from filming on campus.

    Exteriors for “The Social Network” were filmed at Phillips Academy at Andover, Johns Hopkins and Wheelock College.

    In other words, at Schmarvard.

    • I stand corrected! Sure looked like Harvard. But then, I didn’t go there!

    • Bckground: In the NY Mag story, it says that Facebook would have cooperated only if they changed names, including Harvard’s.

  • Hi Jeff,
    Thanks – a very thoughtful piece,

  • i’ve got no interest in seeing this movie

    i am blessed to have a front row seat in the real thing

    • I’m sure you have amazing good and bad stories from your front row seat Fred. I know business can be cut throat competitive, but I must believe that Mark, Sean & Co. can’t possibly be as horrible as this movie portrays them. I agree with Jeff that old school media is just making us geeks who threaten their once mighty strongholds into boogeymen as their business struggles. Who better to attack than Facebook & Google?

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  • The Sunday Boston Globe has more on Sorkin’s motivation and this gem of a quote, from someone who says he doesn’t know much about Facebook: “I don’t believe that [Facebook] has brought us closer together. I think it’s pushed us farther apart.’’ He is simply driven by envy. Zuckerberg, on the other hand, like other builders and doers, is driven by another modern passion, ambition. Both, like everybody else in modern society, where our social positions are not determined by birth, are driven by the constant jockeying for social position.

  • Flambe

    Unfortunately, what most of you want is unquestioning hagiography.

  • I am just not even sure what to think of this movie. I am sure it’s top notch because everything Fincher does, IS. But are we ready for a movie about Facebook yet? This maybe should be done like 10 years from now.

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  • Nelson

    After viewing this film, I saw it as another sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll sells (briefly) a movie. If you rate it more than a B, you probably looking for points that don’t exist. Plus, the music written for the movie seemed poorly done. P.S. At least my tickets were free.

  • Andy Freeman

    > Aaron Sorkin’s worldview, 2007: “Everybody’s voice oughtn’t be equal.”

    Sorkin is correct. We’re arguing about who gets to decide the importance of different voices.

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  • PSloan

    I saw Hollywood’s inane version of Iraq (“The Hurt Locker’) and having been in Iraq realized it was in many ways a cartoon–I’m not talking about politics, but simply in terms of the basic factuality of being deployed there as a soldier. That said, the movie told a story about human motivations. And that’s usually what storytelling is about. If it insults your sense of accuracy regarding a subject matter you know deeply–in the case of ‘Social Network’, that would be the Web–well, tough. As long as the storytelling holds up, the director has done his or her job. I’m not sure how much of a real cowboy author Larry McMurtry is, or how Tom Clancy would perform in a real firefight. I don’t care. As long as they tell a good yarn, they’ve done their job.

    I’m probably reading way too much into this movie review. But c’mon: It continues the incessant harping against Old Media types as losers versus the constant hosannas to New media folks as some exalted kind of human prototype–a discourse that is getting to be, well, pretty dog-eared and tribal. If old media shoots spitballs at geekdom, why stoop to their level to return the favor? After all these years of Web evolution the us-versus-them rhetoric is tired, seems weirdly anachronistic–and smacks, too, of insecurity (those dastardly cultural gatekeepers; as out of touch as they supposedly are, they seem to obsess many geek bloggers). Makes me wonder if Gutenberg and his cohorts were so resentful and insecure, or more joyous about the revolution. Guess I have to read ‘The Guetenberg Revolution’ to find out.

  • Jeff, you’re right on the money here. I have first-hand experience that proves your point that this movie is quite simply a slam on a visionary that happens to also be able to execute. On a smaller scale I’ve been treated the same way by the old media boys in my on-line space. Actually, I would love to talk to you about it sometime. I think you would find it interesting.

  • Hi Jeff,

    Just stumbled across this post, had no idea a film was even being made. Thanks for an insightful, well-presented post and imparting some knowledge…


  • Eric Gauvin

    Hey Jeff,

    Here’s what San Francisco Chronicle movie critic, Mick LaSalle says,

    He gives it his highest rating.

  • Eric Gauvin

    There are a lot of biographical films that dramatize real-life events to fit the format of an entertaining movie.

    Take for example Harvey Milk

    Interestingly, there was a documentary, The Times of Harvey Milk (Oscar, best documentary, 1985) — and there was a dramatization, Milk (Oscar, best actor, screenplay, 2009)

    Another recent example is The Runaways.

    Here are 100 more famous dramatizations:

    1. Schindler’s List – (1993) (Oskar Schindler, German factory owner) (Liam Neeson)
    2. Gandhi – (1982) (Mahatma Gandhi, Indian non-violent protest leader) (Ben Kingsley)
    3. Lawrence of Arabia – (1963) (Thomas E. Lawrence, British intelligence officer) (Peter O’Toole)
    4. Raging Bull – (1980) (Jake LaMotta, middleweight boxing champ) (Robert De Niro)
    5. Napoleon – (1927, silent) (Napoleon Bonaparte, French leader) (Albert Dieudonné)
    6. Amadeus – (1984) (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, composer) (Tom Hulce)
    7. Patton – (1970) (George S. Patton, U.S. General WWII) (George C. Scott)
    8. Braveheart – (1995) (William Wallace, 13th Century Scotsman) (Mel Gibson)
    9. Malcom X – (1992) (Born: Malcolm Little, Black Nationalist leader) (Denzel Washington)
    10. The Ten Commandments – (1956) (Moses) (Charlton Heston)
    11. The Passion of Joan of Arc – (1928) (Joan of Arc, French martyr) (Maria Falconetti)
    12. Spartacus – (1960) (Spartacus, slave revolt leader, Rome) (Kirk Douglas)
    13. Becket – (1964) (Thomas Becket, English Saint and martyr) (Richard Burton)
    14. The Spirit of St. Louis – (1957) (Charles Augustus Lindbergh, aviator) (James Stewart)
    15. Lust For Life – (1956) (Vincent Van Gogh, painter) (Kirk Douglas)
    16. Mary, Queen of Scots – (1972) (Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland) (Vanessa Redgrave)
    17. Andrei Rublev – (1969) (Andrei Rublyov, icon painter) (Anatoli Solonitsyn)
    18. Pride Of The Yankees – (1943) (Henry Louis ‘Lou’ Gehrig, Baseball player) (Gary Cooper)
    19. Sergeant York – (1941) (Alvin C. York, War hero, WWI) (Gary Cooper)
    20. The Miracle Worker – (1962) (Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller) (Anne Bancroft, Patty Duke)
    21. Bonnie and Clyde – (1967) (Bonnie Parker, Clyde Barrow) (Faye Dunaway, Warren Beatty)
    22. The Agony and the Ecstasy – (1965) (Michelangelo, Italian artist) (Charlton Heston)
    23. Mommie Dearest – (1981) (Joan Crawford, actress) (Faye Dunaway)
    24. The Passion of the Christ – (2004) (Jesus) (James Caviezel)
    25. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – (2007) (Jean-Dominique Bauby, Elle editor) (Mathieu Amalric)
    26. Capote – (2006) (Truman Capote, American writer) (Philip Seymour Hoffman)
    27. Immortal Beloved – (1995) (Ludwig van Beethoven, composer) (Gary Oldman)
    28. The Last Emperor – (1987) (Pu Yi, Final Emperor of China) (John Lone)
    29. Goodfellas – (1990) (Henry Hill, gangster) (Ray Liotta)
    30. A Beautiful Mind – (2002) (John Nash, mathemetician) (Russell Crowe)
    31. Ivan Grozny II: Boyarsky zagovor – (1958) (Czar Ivan IV) (Nikolai Cherkasov)
    32. Ray – (2004) (Ray Charles, popular music pianist) (Jamie Foxx)
    33. The Pianist – (2002) (Wladyslaw Szpilman, Jewish musician) (Adrien Brody)
    34. The Elephant Man – (1980) (Dr. Frederick Treves, John Merrick) (Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt)
    35. Silkwood – (1983) (Karen Silkwood, employee in nuclear facility) (Meryl Streep)
    36. Young Mr. Lincoln – (1939) (Abraham Lincoln, U.S. president) (Henry Fonda)
    37. The Diary of Anne Frank – (1959) (Anne Frank, Jewish girl hiding from nazis) (Millie Perkins)
    38. Gorillas in the Mist – (1988) (Dian Fossey, anthropologist) (Sigourney Weaver)
    39. A Man For All Seasons – (1966) (Sir Thomas More, English statesman) (Paul Scofield)
    40. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – (1969) (Butch Cassidy, Sundance) (Paul Newman, R. Redford)
    41. Lenny – (1974) (Lenny Bruce, 1960s comic) (Dustin Hoffman)
    42. Finding Neverland – (2004) (James Barrie, author of Peter Pan) (Johnny Depp)
    43. Good Night and Good Luck – (2005) (Edward R. Murrow, broadcast journalist) (David Strathairn)
    44. Shine – (1996) (David Helfgott, pianist) (Geoffrey Rush)
    45. Yankee Doodle Dandy – (1942) (George M. Cohan, composer, playwright, actor) (James Cagney)
    46. Mask – (1985) (Rocky Dennis, 16-year-old with facial skull deformity) (Eric Stoltz)
    47. The Hurricane – (1999) (Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, wrongly imprisoned boxer) (Denzel Washington)
    48. Madame Curie – (1944) (Marie Curie, discovers radium) (Greer Garson)
    49. Monster – (2004) (Aileen Wuornos, prostitute/serial killer) (Charlize Theron)
    50. Ed Wood – (1994) (Ed Wood, Film director) (Johnny Depp)
    51. Chaplin – (1993) (Charles Chaplin, silent movie comic) (Robert Downey Jr.)
    52. Bird – (1988) (Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker, jazz musician) (Forest Whitaker)
    53. What’s Love Got To Do With It – (1993) (Tina Turner, American singer) (Angela Bassett)
    54. Cinderella Man – (2005) (James Braddock, 1930s boxer) (Russell Crowe)
    55. Walk The Line – (2005) (Johnny Cash, Country music singer) (Joaquin Phoenix)
    56. The Aviator – (2004) (Howard Hughes, director and aviator) (Leonardo DiCaprio)
    57. Pollock – (2000) (Jackson Pollock, American painter) (Ed Harris)
    58. The Buddy Holly Story – (1978) (Buddy Holly, rock ‘n’ roll star) (Gary Busey)
    59. Viva Zapata! – (1952) (Emiliano Zapata, Mexican revolutionary) (Marlon Brando)
    60. Joan of Arc – (1948) (Joan of Arc, French martyr) (Ingrid Bergman)
    61. Kundun – (1997) (Dalai Lama) (Tenzin Thuthob Tsarong)
    62. The Doors – (1991) (Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors) (Val Kilmer)
    63. Jim Thorpe: All American – (1951) (Jim Thorpe, football player) (Burt Lancaster)
    64. The Life of Emile Zola – (1937) (Emile Zola, French writer) (Paul Muni)
    65. Frida – (2002) (Frida Kahlo, Mexican artist) (Salma Hayek)
    66. Brian’s Song – (1971) (Brian Piccolo, football player) (James Caan)
    67. Cleopatra – (1963) (Cleopatra VII, Egyptian queen) (Elizabeth Taylor)
    68. Sid & Nancy – (1986) (Sid Vicious, Nancy Spungen) (Gary Oldman, Chloe Webb)
    69. Ali – (2001) (Muhammad Ali, boxer) (Will Smith)
    70. Papillon – (1972) (Henri ‘Papillon’ Charriere) (Steve McQueen)
    71. La Bamba – (1987) (Ritchie Valens, rock ‘n’ roll star) (Lou Diamond Phillips)
    72. Basquiat – (1996) (Jean Michel Basquia, street artist) (Jeffrey Wright)
    73. Man on the Moon – (1999) (Andy Kaufman, avant-garde comedian) (Jim Carrey)
    74. Nixon – (1995) (Richard Milhous Nixon, U.S. president) (Anthony Hopkins)
    75. Nicholas and Alexandra – (1971) (Tsar Nicholas II, Emp. Alexandra) (Michael Jayston, Janet Suzman)
    76. Quills – (2000) (The Marquis de Sade) (Geoffrey Rush)
    77. Erin Brockovich – (2000) (Erin Brockovich, legal assistant) (Julia Roberts)
    78. Lean On Me – (1989) (Joe Clark, dedicated high school disciplinarian) (Morgan Freeman)
    79. Elizabeth – (1998) (Elizabeth I of England)(Cate Blanchett)
    80. Reds – (1981) (John Reed, American journalist) (Warren Beatty)
    81. Surviving Picasso – (1996) (Pablo Picasso, Spanish painter) (Anthony Hopkins)
    82. Alexander – (2004) (Alexander the Great, King of Macedonia) (Connor Paolo)
    83. People vs. Larry Flynt – (1996) (Larry Flynt, publisher) (Woody Harrelson)
    84. Hoffa – (1992) (James R. ‘Jimmy’ Hoffa, union leader) (Jack Nicholson)
    85. I Accuse – (1958) (Alfred Dreyfus, French army captain) (José Ferrer)
    86. Kinsey – (2004) (Alfred Kinsey) (Liam Neeson)
    87. Anastasia – (1956) (Anna Koreff, Anastasia imposter) (Ingrid Bergman)
    88. Birdman of Alcatraz – (1962) (Robert Stroud, convicted murderer) (Burt Lancaster)
    89. King of Kings – (1961) (Jesus) (Jeffrey Hunter)
    90. Bugsy – (1991) (Ben ‘Bugsy’ Siegel, gangster) (Warren Beatty)
    91. The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex – (1939) (Elizabeth I, Earl of Essex) (Bette Davis, Errol Flynn)
    92. Before Night Falls – (2001) (Reinaldo Arenas, Cuban poet) (Javier Bardem)
    93. Lady Sings the Blues – (1972) (Billie Holiday, Jazz singer) (Diana Ross)
    94. Sybil – (1976) (Shirley Ardell Mason, multiple personality disorder patient) (Sally Field)
    95. Boys Don’t Cry – (1999) (Teena Brandon, transgendered teen) (Hilary Swank)
    96. Henry & June – (1990) (Henry Miller, June Miller) (Fred Ward, Uma Thurman)
    97. Casanova – (2005) (Giacomo Casanova, Venetian writer, womanizer) (Heath Ledger)
    98. Bound for Glory – (1976) (Woody Guthrie, folk singer) (David Carradine)
    99. El Cid – (1961) (“El Cid”, Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, Spanish hero) (Charlton Heston)
    100. Disraeli – (1929) (Benjamin Disraeli, Prime Minister of Great Britain) (George Arliss)

    • Eric Gauvin

      I tried twice to put the reference for that list, but wordpress ate it…

      It came from

    • EB

      What a great list! I’m updating my Netflix queue right now!
      In the olden days movies, like the one about Edison with Spencer Tracy, were polishing the public persona to make them heroic. I saw a documentary about Tesla on the History Channel and it told the story of how Tesla was ripped off by Edison, who was ported as very cut throat in his business dealings.

      Anyway, making a movie about a real person uses poetic license to tell something of the era, I guess, and are not just documentaries about what went on then.

      It is interesting to see how the viewers of the times either “went for” the hero treatment or wanted something else from the movie maker. Box office will tell it’s own tale.

  • There seems to be a lot of buzz saying that the movie is ‘bad’ PR for Zuck… It’s only ‘bad’ in the sense that Mr. Jeff Jarvis presents here. It doesn’t accurately depict him. This means its INACCURATE, not BAD. Also, it does NOT translate into “bad for business”.

    I believe a corollary to my statement is that the movie is actually GOOD for Zuckerberg! A person like him is bound to get some ‘bad’ PR in some way or another… The fact that this PR is incorrectly branded as ‘bad’ kind of puts him off the hook, at least for now. It also came during a time in which he was actually getting lots of bad PR for privacy issues on FB.

    Of all the reviews I’ve read on the movie, no one has taken this stance. I’m wondering if any of the Jarvanians see my point? :)

  • Alex L

    “If that’s the goal, then why use real people and real events as the basis of the movie?”

    Uhhh, just pointing it out, but why make a movie about WW2 or the Titanic or any event in history?

    “Maybe we’re both hypnotized by the Zuckerberg charisma Sorkin cannot see.”

    That charisma is shown in the film through Zuck’s dedication to his vision. This is where all of the film’s conflict comes from. What charisma are you talking about?

    “It makes him weird. It portrays Zuckerberg as—let’s be blunt—Aspergery: blinkless, humorless, heartless, incapable of being *cough* social or of having *cough* friends.”

    I felt the movie took judging to the backseat and let the characters’ actions speak for themselves. Zuckerberg is portrayed as a good man whose ferocious motivation leaves those who can’t keep up in the dust. His humor comes in clearly at one point where he questions, “Doesn’t anyone have a sense of humor anymore?” Also, the very first scene waves away the whole reason Jarvis’ panties are in a bunch. It’s not because he’s a geek, outsider, “other” or whatever, it’s because when it comes to business he’s an asshole like every other entrepreneur asshole who made it big. The film seems to try and simply explore what it means to be an asshole; to ditch people behind at the drop of a hat. I think it’s unfair to judge this film as making every character in it a 2D depiction. Yes, Jarvis acknowledges the true intent of the film: “Though if all you want is a tale of hard-nosed business leading to human drama among geeks…” but how is this a bad premise?

    You all have read how Sorkin and Fincher were completely unconcerned when it came to getting real portrayals of the actors’ real-life counterparts, so why are you all pissed off about it? Things don’t have to be true to be evoke emotion. If anything, this movie supports his creation and does not condemn geeks/the internet like Jarvis seems to think.

    Maybe I misunderstood his post, who knows?

  • I saw the movie tonight, and went in with a grain of salt after the discussion you had with Leo on TWiG plus this post. I don’t think the point of the film was to explain the why of Facebook, if there is even one to explain. As Sasha and Lisa mentioned earlier, Zuckerburg is a new alpha-male, and I think he was trying to create something better than Friendster or MySpace, not to build something that would end up with 500 million users. I think of the student who developed the YouTube Instant search, for example. He was trying to settle a bet with his friend/roommate, not to get a job offer from youTube.

    Exclusivity is a quick way to create something cool – the club Zuckerburg was trying to get into was super exclusive, for example. It was a formula that worked early, probably too quickly, and now Zuckerburg is left trying to explain what happened and how he managed to do it. Facebook fed off its image of cool like Nike, Apple, and Ambercrombie & Fitch do.

    Unlike the others in that list, I don’t see a grand vision happening. Otherwise, to play off a quote Zuckerburg made in the movie, wouldn’t Facebook have created the stream of updates before Twitter or been created before MySpace/Friendster?

  • dSquib

    Is Zuckerberg really that interesting? Do entrepreneurs deserve the mystique they receive? For me Zuckerberg in the movie was something of an Iago, his motives are hard to comprehend, may be seem absurd if written down and repeated enough, but not necessarily any more than anyone else. (The film was more concerned with themes than characters, to be sure) He’s a success, and people want to be successful – that’s the only interest I can discern. Interesting in the Davos sense or TED sense or your garden variety motivational speaker sense, perhaps. The credentials provide 99% of the interest. Why is it everyone, including “liberals”, turn into Ayn Rand when it comes to interent entrepreneurs, and talk of them in terms they’d be embarrassed to use for, say, oil futures speculators?

    Also I find the evidence of this being a parting shot of “old media” to be not that conclusive. But then I’m equally perplexed by what seems to me to be the flipside of curmudgeonly internet bashing, which is the hype of pretty basic online services, for which the mean experience is really nothing life-changing or that interesting, except in a grim way; that is, the reciprocal nature of play stalking (not to diminish the real thing), the synthetic nature of many friendships etc. Facebook was the (near) perfection of a medium, not much of an innovation, certainly not an invention. It’s not really changing the way we live to any great extent. Slight modifications here and there. Certainly it’s still new, but the evidence that Facebook provides something great that would not be possible or likely otherwise is thin. The internet was a great creation, a new universe. Zuckerberg et al are simply mining the terrain.

    Lastly, I’ve known many geeks and look, there IS a lot of crossover between geeks and the general socially “awkward” kind. It’s not going anywhere, and I see little in Zuckerberg to suggest that doesn’t describe him too.

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  • Fantastic review. I saw the film last night and was mildly entertained by it at first, but the more I thought about it, the less I am liking it. The main reason is that you CAN’T separate the actual events and people of this story from the STORY of this story. We’re still smack in the middle of the Facebook story (“We don’t even know what it’s going to be yet”), so it’s ridiculous to draw conclusions when we still don’t even know where the finish line is.

    I didn’t know much about Zuckerberg going into the film, and still don’t know that I’ve seen the film. As you wrote, he’s an Other, a cypher. Jesse Eisenberg plays him with one sullen, awkward note and it comes across as false, based on what little I know about Zuckerberg and the interviews I’ve seen with him. I wasn’t on Zuckerberg’s side before the film, and I’m still not, but I DO want to see him given a fair portrayal. He still has a chance to write his own ending, and I hope he takes the portrayal in this film (however accurate it is or isn’t) and uses it to re-evaluate and re-prioritize his goals.

    One final note, this movie wants very badly to be “Citizen Kane 2.0”. It even has the “rosebud” moments to bookend the film. You can make up amazing moments like that if you’re creating a film about Charles Foster Kane or some made-up college kid that created a made-up social network. But when you’re making a film about Mark Zuckerberg who created Facebook, you can’t just hide behind the “I’m making a movie, not a documentary” excuse. If you’re going to say that THIS is what happened and THIS is how you should view this person, then you can’t just make crap up.

  • Rip Van Winkelvoss

    “The Social Network” was directed by David Fincher. Its score was composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. To dismiss such men as “anti-weirdo,” “anti-geek,” or resistant to change is laughable.

  • Hal O’Brien

    “It neither explains nor even ascribes motives to Mark Zuckerberg—no vision, no strategy, no goals.”

    Which is worse: Not explaining or ascribing such things when there’s no evidence they exist, or insisting that they do exist when, again, there’s no evidence? (Well, OK, aside from ego-driven self-aggrandizement.) Isn’t it only moments later the movie makers will be taken to task for making things up?

    “They make a movie about a man named Mark Zuckerberg starting a service called Facebook. They didn’t film it at Schmarvard. I don’t buy that.”

    That Bill Shakespeare… He makes a play about a man named Richard III fighting at Bosworth Field. He doesn’t set it at Schmengland. I don’t buy it.

    Honestly… as a reaction to criticism, Jeff, this displays such a profound ignorance of literature and drama (both live and filmed), that one could describe it as… “Aspergery: blinkless, humorless, heartless, incapable of being *cough* social or of having *cough* friends.”

    Which is to say, it sounds suspiciously like you sympathize with Zuckerberg because you identify with him. That’s fine, but it’s an odd thing to think anyone besides the two of you would believe so.

    And, for those seeking a different point of view, there’s this piece at Wired — which, notably, has direct quotes from Zuckerberg’s IMs indicating he may well be as creepy as described. And that’s before we get into the contest at EFF about new terms for, “the act of creating deliberately confusing jargon and user-interfaces which trick your users”. Here’s a selection of what came back: “Zuckermining”, “Infozuckering”, “Zuckerpunch”, “Facebooking”, “Facebaiting” and “Facebunk”.

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  • Ty Holland

    I just wanted to post and say Jarvis was completely off on this review. This was one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. It was not anti geek in any way. What should the movie have been? A sanitized and sterile telling of the facts and nothing but the facts?

    NO ONE agrees with you, except Armond White who trolls rotten tomatoes.

    I found the fictionalized character of Zuckerberg pretty damn fascinating. He did NOT come off as evil or some caricature. He came off as an asshole at times, but also driven and the primary force behind facebooks success.

    What was anti geek about that? You seem to think portrayals of character flaws = total hit piece not just on Zuckerberg, but on his whole geek/entrepreneurial class. Wrong. It just means he has/had character flaws, as do we all.

    It made for a great film. I did not come out of the movie thinking less of Zuckerberg or so called geeks. I came out entertained and fascinated by his life and struggles.

    And you know what Jeff, so did the vast majority of human beings that actual saw the movie. Even if 90% of the film was filled with lies, it was entertaining and interesting from start to finish. Well acted, well directed, well written.

    Your take is an anomaly, and please take the nerd chip off the shoulder, you are making this into something it is not.

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  • When I first read this post, Jeff, I hadn’t seen The Social Network but suspected you were reading into the movie an argument that it didn’t attempt to make. Rarely is art, even bad art, so polemical and as you make out this film to be, casting judgment on its subject in ham-handed terms like good and bad. Now that I’ve seen the movie, I’m sure Sorkin would consider that the least interesting question one could ask about Facebook. (Well, it might rank second to whether the movie is accurate.)

    The Social Network is a character study, and if it’s a study of a fictional character, then OK. But where do you get the sense that Zuckerberg is set up for condemnation here? He is the underdog who, confronted with fucked-up and antiquated social structures, hacks together a new form of success. How do you read the coding competition for a Facebook internship? That’s Zuckerberg at the helm, suddenly, of his own final club, one that’s neither the Phoenix nor AEPi. Even if the film doesn’t quite understand geeks, it certainly appreciates them.

    He’s not friendless in the movie, and in any event, it’s often the outsider who best understands the dynamics of the society that shuns him. But, again, it doesn’t shun him. Zuckerberg sees himself, accurately and wisely, in opposition to a certain social class, but nothing in the film portrays him an outcast on the broader campus. Where, exactly, do you see that?

    What’s brilliant about the rendering of Zuckerberg in this movie is that, despite everything, he’s not an asshole. (This is somewhat didactically pointed out in the final scene.) He’s a kid who deals with this stuff like any kid would: clumsily. And if he’s not given credit for understanding the underlying concepts of what he created, that may be because he (the fictional Zuckerberg) only figured them out as he went along.

    This, too, is pretty much hammered over our heads: “We don’t even know what this is yet,” multiple characters say multiple times. That even rings true to the real-life Zuckerberg, who played down his creation at first and attempted other products after Facebook’s launch, like a resume site and file-sharing service, devoid of the qualities that made Facebook special. He only later arrived at many of his present-day theories.

    But we must have seen different movies. I just didn’t see the portrayal as negative. It’s not The Social Network that calls Zuckerberg a cheater but the opposing counsel. And I’d be interested to hear which scene seemed to you disapproving of the “masses doing what they do.” Is it possible you were reading into the movie what you know separately about Sorkin’s opinions?

    Fundamentally, though, you are assuming the movie takes a stand on something by attempting to describe it. That’s rarely the case in decent art, and after seeing the movie, I know that’s not the case here. And what it describes is, yes, “a tale of hard-nosed business leading to human drama among geeks.” In doing so, sure, it misses a lot. But I don’t think those omissions construct some sort of argument. What a snoozer that would be.

    • Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Zach.
      Should be writing something else right now so just a note.
      It presents Zuckerberg’s motive as getting into the old clubs and valuing them because that is how Sorkin measures the world — and because Sorkin doesn’t understand what I believe really drives Zuckerberg: changing the world, changing Sorkin’s world. That is his greatest cynicism: refusing to see any higher motive. And that is because he is publicly disdainful of — and shamefully ignorant of — Zuckerberg’s creation and thus his vision.
      How people react to Zuckerberg out of this, I’d be very curious to see. I’d love to see some polling (scientific) of those who’ve seen the movie and the commercials. I’d bet that most would not agree with you that it’s not a negative portrayal. Indeed, it won’t much matter to Zuckerberg in real life. He is executing his vision.
      Arguments that this is a character study don’t wash with me because it doesn’t understand — or even try to understand — the real motives of the characters.
      Arguments that this is a business story also don’t wash because it doesn’t comprehend — or even try to comprehend — the full worth of what is at stake.
      This is not the movie of the age. It is the last movie of the last age. Gasp. Gasp.

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  • Joe

    My friend, I have no idea what “anti-geek” means. It’s sound like you’re “making shit up”. You are doing a poor job at describing what is that upsets you.

    There is a “why” although I’m not sure why you need it. It’s a great idea. That should have been enough for Mark. Take the case of the mp3 player and Facesmash.

    Finally, I don’t think it is an anti social movie. Your case for it is that “it doesn’t go for the phenomenon”… I think you wanted to have that inserted there and you’re mad they left it out. Well that is because the movie is not about the facebook phenomenon. Get it straight. This movie is not about the facebook phenomenon. It’s about its origins. You have to take the responsability to criticize according to what the movie is/presents. Furthermore, the script has a Rashomon-style that you haven’t caught on yet. The truth is what we make of it; out of the conversations in that room with the lawyers.

  • Did we see the same movie? The way Sorkin constructed it, the whole movie was about the “Why” – and the why was Zuckerberg trying to get back the girl. Not accurate – because Zuckerberg in fact had a steady girlfriend throughout the period the movie describes. But it’s a movie, not a documentary. It’s about story and narrative arc. This argument about how close to the truth movies about real people resonated last year with “Precious,” and stretches all the way back to “Mississippi Burning” which presented the FBI as being on the side of civil rights workers in Mississippi when in fact they were working with the Klu Klux Klan. Art doesn’t have to be true to be art. Emotional truth is often very far from verifiable truth. And the outcome of most courtroom dramas has little to do with justice. It’s the job of the screenwriter to pick and choose the elements that will drive the story; and if the story Sorkin wrote drives audiences to seek out the verifiable facts, then that’s a good thing.

  • Tim Snyder

    The full Sorkin quote re: equal voice

    “I do believe that we’ve seen an enormous rise in amateurism,” Sorkin said. “One of the things I find troubling about the Internet, as great a resource tool as it is, and as nice as it is that we can all communicate with each other, and that everybody has a voice – the thing is, everybody’s voice oughtn’t be equal.”

    “You people are credentialed journalists in here… There’s a certain understanding that you had to be good to have gotten that job,” Sorkin continued. “When The New York Times quotes a blogger, saying `PastyBoy2000 says this,’ suddenly you give it the imprimatur of the New York Times – that’s, first of all, lazy on the part of The New York Times, second of all, incredibly misleading.”

    And he’s absolutely right. The web is the incredible invention of our times. But it’s lead to some problems, mainly the legitimization of amateurs as ‘experts’ and a society where we all often sit in self-constructed echo chambers.

    I loved this film. It was a critique of how we engage technology, and one geek in particular, not a hit piece on all geeks in general. It seems to me, with all due respect, that there is a fair amount of projecting here. I wonder if we saw the same film at all.

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  • James

    The movie was entertaining at the lowest common denominator, but I agree with Jeff’s idea that the film is one-sided, which lessens the impact of social networking itself. Ultimately the film doesn’t really ask any of the big questions.

    Your assertion “that’s business” is disconcerting because I view that as a statement of complacency. Just because something is what it is doesn’t make it right or good for society. In fact business is the point of contention for US geeks who dream and create.

    I see Jeff’s concern that the film tarnishes the reputation of “geeks” but at least on a basic level it depicts an idea implemented by people that want to create something that connects the world, for themselves and for others. If the film critiques facebook, the critique is the “business”. And this is clear as the plot of the film hinges entirely on the lawsuit, which is all about business. It’s about money.

    Yet at the heart of geekdom is, simply, heart. Geeks are geeks because they do what they do out of love. And this is the ultimate force to be reckoned with.

    I always remember that famous quote from videogaming: “People ask me who I fear,” says Wilbur. “Which of our competition – LucasArts, Microsoft, any of the big companies. They don’t frighten me. What I’m afraid of is two guys in a garage, working in total obscurity. That’s where the heart and soul of this business is at. Those are the guys who are going to come up with the stuff that blows us out of the water.”

    And spoken by a true businessman. At least for a geek like myself, I am about open-source software, free products, social network projects designed to connect the world for the good of connecting the world.

    The current problem, I think, comes from technology being produced so rapidly, it is ripe for the picking by people that want to cash it in and make money. That’s business, but it harms the integrity and the foundation of why people create these technologies in the first place.

    Ultimately I think what the film barely touches upon and what we really need to ask is where we want to go with technology, with social networking in particular, why we want to go there and how we will get there. Isn’t the film’s message more that business corrupts? Moreover that money corrupts? That’s the old-media story ingredient but it’s true even today.

    Facebook was designed for the people, for the users. I remember joining it when I first went to college as a freshman in Fall of 2004. But it gradually declined into a controversial mess of news feeds and privacy issues that everybody seemed to hate.

    For me, the film on its admittedly basic and obnoxiously in-your-face level depicts the good idea corrupted by business. It’s pure and simple.

    • Stella

      I disagree. Didn’t they emphasize, over and over again in the movie, how little money and/or ambition mattered to visionaries? (“Money isn’t a big part of my life” “Mark doesn’t care about money” “Microsoft wanted to buy it but I uploaded it for free.” Additionally, Sean Parker was broke.) Weren’t the consummate businessmen in the movie (Eduardo Saverin, the Winklevoss twins) ultimately shut out of the race? As much as I disagree with Sorkin, he and Fincher, king of socially contrarian movies, were also concerned with depicting the rise of a new social hierarchy.

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  • Ras

    I could not disagree with you more. First of all, you seem to be approaching the question of why Zuck would create FB as something that should be explained in series of a bulleted PowerPoint slides. I think the movie does shed some light on Zuck’s motivations – at least the initiating sparks -but does not pontificate on long, boring theories on his motivations. The first “Silence of the Lambs” was very provocative when you accepted Hannibal Lecter as the crazed psychopath. The 3rd follow-up “Hannibal” which tried to explain how he became such a monster really fell short of everyone’s expectation when it tried to explain his motivation.

    Also, I disagree this movie is anti-geek – (although where is it written that technophiles can not enjoy a movie even if it is anti-geek?) most of the people i saw the movie with left the movie feeling a lot of contempt for the leeches who tried to attach themselves to the coattails of Zuck’s brilliance and vision. I think you are assuming to little of the audience’s intelligence

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  • Eric Gauvin

    It’s all about “earnin’ and learnin’…

  • Eric Gauvin

    stupid wordpress ate my embed code…

    Here’s the link:

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  • Stan

    Comments here, especially the earliest ones [like the article/post itself] refer to Sorkin as “old”. For the record, He is 49, and was born just a month or so before President Obama. BOTH men are seven years younger than: Jeff Jarvis.

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  • the film just starts in germany, will go to cinema next weekend.

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  • Peter Douglas

    Jeff, you sound like my daughter talking about Harry Potter films. It’s a movie! It’s based on a book and everything you criticize comes straight from the book. The Accidental Billionaires is not a conspiracy to put geeks in their place, it’s a dramatization and having read it, it is obviously crafted to sensationalize. The book became boring this was so transparent.
    Love your work, but you have to get a grip over this.

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  • Oh, it’s entertaining, in a dark way, as much as watching the pillorying of witches used to be, I suppose.

    Jeff, am I the only person coming to these comments to criticize your review for being too flattering? Seeking entertainment on a Saturday night, this moviegoer found none — excepting Timberlake’s tour de force at Nobu.

    You, Jeff, criticize the movie’s plot for failing to care about the social possibilities that Facebook enables. A fair point. I would go further: the movie’s authorial voice is wantonly ignorant of the narrative possibilities that Facebook invites.

    Stories told in the narrative style of a social network would be full of false leads, misimpressions, cul de sacs, digressions, incompletion, bewilderment about tone of voice, lack of resolution. Instead we have the plodding narrative arc of a conventional biopic, where the flashback seems the limit of experimentation.

    Look at Eric Gauvin’s catalogue of great biopics (Raging Bull, for Christ’s sakes!) and it is a pale shadow even of those old media efforts. As for viewers who find traces of Rashomon in this effort, if only…(well I suppose both Kurosawa and Nobu are Japanese, so they have that in common). The Social Network seems unaware of storytelling techniques that were part of La Nouvelle Vague 50 years ago — let alone New Media.

    The line Zach Seward quotes — “We don’t even know what it is yet” — should apply not only to Facebook itself, but to the viewer’s point-of-view when navigating a Facebook-informed narrative. Perhaps if the script had been assigned to Charlie Kaufman (think Synecdoche, Adaptation). But no. We can only imagine.

    • kgx6

      I and alot of other reviewers thought it was a really good film…

      • kgx6

        it’s exciting and entertaining…it puts the hollywood into marck zuckerberg’s story and obviously his portrayal is different from the real mark zuckerberg because they make him ruthless in the film

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  • Funnily enough, I just purchased tickets to a play at the Public Theater and decided to read the book on which it is based in preparation. The book is about a young man, jilted by a girlfriend, who devotes himself to getting impossibly rich. He is surrounded by the debauchery that all that wealth brings but is personally untouched by it, since he still carries a torch for the girl who dumped him.

    I found it superior to The Social Network. It is called The Great Gatsby. Check it out.

  • John Ackhart

    I think youre putting yourself at risk here because it’s clear that what you’re most angry about is that Fincher didn’t make the movie you wanted him to make. Perhaps you would have made it different, but he chose to tackle a different set of themes than you would have. Understand it’s a movie. As such it can’t tackle too much.

    Similarly, it’s not intended to be a factual blow by blow account of the characters and events that created Facebook.. It’s shocking that people can be a critical of a movie for not being truthful when it is not intended to be completely truthful.

    • It purports to be a character study without bothering to understand the characters it allegedly studies. It purports to tell a story without bothering to get the story right. It purports to understand a new world without even using let alone understanding that new world. It adds no value. If you want to make fiction, make fiction.

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  • “The movie quickly admits that money doesn’t matter to Zuckerberg. So why did he build Facebook?”
    You mean, those were the choices? Money or what could possibly be the reason?
    The movie explains from scene one the impetus behind building Facebook – but maybe it was too uncomfortable for you to take it in.
    No s* was made up – the entire script was based on Zuckerberg’s blog and trial transcripts. Which are all on line for us to verify.

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  • MJ

    Couldn’t agree more. They made him to be this cold, one-dimensional character who flourished in production of facebook out of sheer desolation, rejection. I wondered while watching of the hatchet job they did on his character, all in the name of entertainment. Remain appalled Sorking eschewed letting truth be the enemy. More I think of it, I’m floored. And who does depostions with mutliple witnesses in the room, all testifying simultaneously. Good grief.

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